Asheville doctor answers FAQs on gum disease
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, can develop slowly and without obvious signs and symptoms. Occasional bleeding or irritation of the gums may not be seen as a serious problem. Our team at Asheville Smile Center is dedicated to the prevention of oral health concerns such as gum disease. The following are some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about gum disease:
What is the difference between periodontal disease, gum disease, gingivitis, and periodontitis?
Gum disease is also called periodontal disease. The definition of the word periodontal is "encasing or surrounding teeth" or "that which affects the foundation or tissues the support the teeth.”
Gingivitis is typically the first and mildest form of gum disease. Many patients may not realize that they have gingivitis. It may begin with gum inflammation or intermittent bleeding.
If not treated in time, gingivitis may, but does not always, lead to periodontitis, in which the gums pull away from the teeth, creating pockets in which bacteria grows and interacts with plaque and debris. Eventually, the support system for the teeth erodes and tooth loss can occur.
What are the main symptoms of gum disease?
The warning signs include inflammation of the gums, bleeding during or after flossing or brushing, chronic bad breath, subtle shifting of the teeth, receding gums, mouth sores, or changes in bite.
Does gum disease impact overall physical health?
There are many significant interactions between gum disease and other health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases, osteoporosis, cancer, and risk of stroke.
How common is gum disease?
It is estimated that more than half to 80 percent of the U.S. population has some form of gingivitis or periodontitis.
What causes gum disease?
Plaque is the primary culprit. The bacteria that are present in plaque invade the bone, gums, and tissues that support the teeth, eventually causing erosion and recession of the structure for teeth, leading to tooth loss.
What can I do to prevent gum disease?
Understanding your risk for gum disease is critical. Using tobacco products, family history, diet, and age can affect your risk of periodontal disease. Talk to your dental health professionals to determine your susceptibility. Regular healthy habits that can reduce your risk include:
- Establish a trusting and familiar relationship with a dental practice. Routine dental appointments, cleaning, and oral health screenings can detect changes before they become concerns
- Brush your teeth with a dentist recommended toothbrush at least twice daily and, ideally, after each meal
- Floss at least once a day to remove food particles that may be trapped between teeth
- Rinse with a recommended mouthwash to help to reduce plaque
For more information about how to lower your risk for gum disease, call our knowledgeable staff at Asheville Smile Center today at (828) 585-4049.
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